A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, Francine Prose

By Richard Hughes, Francine Prose

Richard Hughes's celebrated brief novel is a masterpiece of targeted narrative. Its dreamlike motion starts off one of the decayed plantation homes and overwhelming usual abundance of past due nineteenth-century Jamaica, sooner than relocating out onto the excessive seas, as Hughes tells the tale of a gaggle of youngsters thrown upon the mercy of a staff of down-at-the-heel pirates. A story of seduction and betrayal, of lodging and manipulation, of strange humor and unexpected violence, this vintage of twentieth-century literature is especially a unprecedented reckoning with the key purposes and otherworldly realities of early life.

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Extra resources for A High Wind in Jamaica

Sample text

Something stellar and alien in its light that he’d come to feel comfortable with. Anything but sleep in the dark. He swung his feet from under the covers and sat up. He looked at her naked back. Her hair on the pillow. He reached and pulled the blanket up over her shoulder and got up and went into the kitchen. He took the jar of water from the refrigerator and unscrewed the cap and stood there drinking in the light of the open refrigerator door. Then he just stood there holding the jar with the water beading cold on the glass, looking out the window and down the highway toward the lights.

I aint. Why dont you fix me some bacon and eggs while I take a shower. Let me see that cut on your head. What happened to you? Where’s your truck at? I need to take a shower. Fix me somethin to eat. My stomach thinks my throat’s been cut. When he came out of the shower he was wearing a pair of shorts and when he sat at the little formica table in the kitchen the first thing she said was What’s that on the back of your arm? How many eggs is this? Four. You got any more toast? They’s two more pieces comin.

There were no bulletholes in the door but there was blood on the seat. The key was still in the ignition and he reached in and turned it and then pushed the windowbutton. The glass ratcheted slowly up out of the channel. There were two bulletholes in it and a fine spray of dried blood on the inside of the glass. He stood there thinking about that. He looked at the ground. Stains of blood in the clay. Blood in the grass. He looked out down the track south across the caldera back the way the truck had come.

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